Mills College President Jan Holmgren believes in saving the best
for last. “This is the 4th and last time I’ll deliver this speech,
but it’s to the best group,” Holmgren said to students at Suzie’s
Lounge on Sept. 24.
What was intended to be a formal State of the College address,
complete with podium and microphone, turned in to an informal chat.
When the crowd confirmed to Holmgren that she could be heard
without a microphone, she said “good” and quickly pulled up a
Enrollment, renovations on campus, and the goals for the college
were covered quickly. However, for the majority of the address,
Holmgren was engaged in a dialogue with students, who were full of
One student asked about the future of a media or communications
program. “I don’t want to make any promises, but we want to retain
and expand options for our students,” Holmgren said.
When asked about the possibility of the Theatre Arts program
being revived one day, Holmgren said, “No, but the college would
support the idea of a club and through [dramatic arts]
Concern about class sizes being larger than expected was raised,
when one student explained that her Ethnic Studies class exceeds 25
“We are making an effort to offer more sections. We have a
faculty of 115 and 1,200 students, so 15 should be the average
class size,” said Holmgren.
“What about support for students mothers?” asked one
Holmgren admits that she has a dream that has not yet been
realized. She would like to have more financial support for student
mothers and their children.
“When I came here twelve years ago, I was a single mother of
two,” said Holmgren. “I would like to have scholarships that would
support the students and the child in either child care or at the
children’s school, and better housing for families.”
Beyond that, Holmgren would like to have more recognition of
accomplishments by student mothers.
“Barbara Lee [Mills graduate and congresswoman] pushed to get a
study abroad program in Africa when she was here. She could only go
there for one month, due to her maternal duties, she had two young
Holmgren proposed a monthly get-together for students to gather
with her and have their issues and concerns addressed. Look for
details to come from the Office of Student Life, or see Dean of
Students Shirley Weishaar.